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  • Sarah Raad

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“Listen to the Mass the way the Virgin Mary stood at the Calvary.” (Saint Padre Pio).

Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary, St John the Evangelist and Mary Magdalene (Frans Pourbus)

Saint Padre Pio told us to “Listen to the Mass the way the Virgin Mary stood at the Calvary.”


And I have been reflecting on that instruction over the last few days, for I have come to realise that there is great merit in the Holy Mass…


Saint Stanislaus told a story once about a poor widow who came into a butcher shop in Luxembourg to beg for some meat. She promised to offer Mass in exchange for the meat. The butcher laughed at her and told her he would give her as much meat as the Mass merited.


She returned the next day with a piece of paper on which she had written, “one mass offered”. The butcher (and a captain who was a customer in the shop) laughed at her and the butcher placed the paper on one side of his scale. On the other side, he placed a small piece of meat. The paper weighed more. Then, he added another – larger – piece of meat, still the scales favoured the paper. Again, he added meat, and again the Mass weighed more.

The butcher and the captain were converted that day and began attending daily Mass. Two of the Captain’s sons became priests – Saint Stanislaus was one of those sons! And it all started with the faith of a poor old widow in the power of the Holy Mass…

Pope Saint John Paul II said, “You must be strong, dear brothers and sisters! You must be strong with the power of faith! You must be strong with the power of faith! You must be faithful! Today you need this power more than in any other age. You must be strong with the power of hope that brings the full joy of life and does not allow you to grieve the Holy Spirit! You must be strong with the power of love, which is more powerful than death, as revealed by Saint Stanislaus and blessed Maximilian Maria Kolbe. You must be strong with love, which ‘is patient, is kind ... does not envy, does not applaud, is not arrogant ... does not remember evil; he does not rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in the truth.’ Who ‘bears everything, believes everything, hopes in everything, endures everything’, that love that ‘never ceases’ (1 Cor 13: 4-8).”


And such a love is the love that the Blessed Virgin reflected as she stood at the foot of the Cross. And as I reflect on that love and on that suffering of the Virgin – on that participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass through her acceptance of the Will of the Father and her adoration of God the Son, I take heart…


For the Blessed Virgin is my guide and all I need to do is to pray for the Grace to “Listen to the Mass the way the Virgin Mary stood at the Calvary.” (Saint Padre Pio). For what greater form of worship is there than that?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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